Permanent residents travelling outside Canada

Can I travel outside Canada without my PR card?

It depends on how you’re traveling.

If you’re traveling in a private vehicle, you can use other documents to return to Canada.

If you’re traveling in a commercial vehicle, you need a valid permanent resident (PR) card to return to Canada. If your PR card expires when you’re travelling, renew your PR card before you leave. You can only renew your PR card when you’re in Canada. If you’re outside Canada and don’t have a valid PR card, you need a permanent resident travel document (PRTD) to return to Canada. You can only apply for a PRTD from outside Canada.


Can my time abroad count toward my permanent resident status?

It depends on what you do and who you travel with. Your time outside of Canada may count toward your permanent resident status if you meet 1 of these conditions:

You work outside Canada

You need to work full-time for:

You travel with a spouse or common-law partner

Your spouse or common-law partner needs to be:

You’re a dependent child and travel with your parent

Your parent needs to be:


I need to leave Canada and I do not have a permanent resident card. Can I later return to Canada without a PR card?

You need a valid permanent resident (PR) card to return to Canada by plane, train, bus or boat. If you know your card will expire when you’re travelling, renew it before you leave. You can only renew your card in Canada. We don’t send PR cards to non-Canadian addresses and we don’t allow third parties to get them for you.

If you’re outside Canada and don’t have a valid PR card, you need a permanent resident travel document (PRTD) to return to Canada. You can only apply for a PRTD from outside Canada. If you try to return to Canada without a PR card or PRTD, you may not be able to take your flight, train, bus or boat to Canada.

It depends on how you travel.

Returning by private vehicle

There are other documents you can use to enter the country.

When you return to Canada, apply for a PR card if you plan to travel outside Canada again.

Some examples of private vehicles include, but are not limited to: a car, truck, motorcycle, or recreational vehicle that you own, borrow, or rent. It is a vehicle not available for public use.

Returning by commercial vehicle: airplane, bus, train, or boat

You must apply for a permanent resident travel document. Otherwise you may not be able to travel to Canada.

You can apply for a PR card when you return to Canada.

If you’re traveling soon or already applied

If you know you’re travelling by commercial vehicle soon, you can ask for an urgent renewal of your PR card. If you already applied for your PR card and are still waiting for it, you can check our processing times, check the status of your application or link your application to your account to keep track of it.

Contact us if you’ve been waiting for your card for six weeks longer than the normal processing time and still haven’t received it.


What do I do if my PR card isn’t ready before I travel?

You need a valid permanent resident (PR) card to return to Canada by commercial vehicle. You can use other documents to return to Canada by private vehicle.

If you know your PR card will expire while you’re travelling outside Canada, you should apply for a new one before you leave. You can’t have a third party mail your PR card to you while you’re outside Canada. We don’t send PR cards to non-Canadian addresses.

If your new PR card isn’t ready before you leave, you can still travel but you need a permanent resident travel document (PRTD) to return to Canada by commercial vehicle. You can only apply for a PRTD from outside Canada.


What happens if my permanent resident card expires while I am outside Canada?

You need a valid permanent resident (PR) card to return to Canada by plane, train, bus or boat. If you know your card will expire when you’re travelling, renew it before you leave. You can only renew your card in Canada. We don’t send PR cards to non-Canadian addresses and we don’t allow third parties to get them for you.

If you’re outside Canada and don’t have a valid PR card, you need a permanent resident travel document (PRTD) to return to Canada. You can only apply for a PRTD from outside Canada. If you try to return to Canada without a PR card or PRTD, you may not be able to take your flight, train, bus or boat to Canada.

If your card expires when you’re outside Canada, you still have your permanent resident (PR) status. To keep your PR status, you need to stay in Canada for a certain amount of time.

What happens if your PR card expires when you’re outside Canada depends on how you plan to return to Canada.

Private vehicle

There are other documents you can use to re-enter the country.

When you return to Canada, apply for a PR card if you plan to travel outside Canada again.

Some examples of private vehicles include, but are not limited to: a car, truck, motorcycle, or recreational vehicle that you own, borrow, or rent. It is a vehicle not available for public use.

Commercial vehicle: airplane, bus, train, or boat

You must apply for a permanent resident travel document (PRTD). Otherwise you may not be able to travel to Canada.

You can apply to replace your permanent resident (PR) card when you return to Canada or if you haven’t left yet. You may eligible for urgent processing.

Validity

Most PR cards are valid for five years, but some are only valid for one year. The expiry date is printed on the card. When your PR card expires, you can’t use it as a travel document. If your PR card will expire within six months, you should apply to renew your card. You need to be in Canada. If you’re re-entering Canada by commercial vehicle and have an expired PR card, get your PRTD to re-enter Canada.

Check our processing times to see how long you will have to wait to get your new card.


I am outside Canada and do not have a PR card. How can I return to Canada?

You need a valid permanent resident (PR) card to return to Canada by plane, train, bus or boat. If you know your card will expire when you’re travelling, renew it before you leave. You can only renew your card in Canada. We don’t send PR cards to non-Canadian addresses and we don’t allow third parties to get them for you.

If you’re outside Canada and don’t have a valid PR card, you need a permanent resident travel document (PRTD) to return to Canada. You can only apply for a PRTD from outside Canada. If you try to return to Canada without a PR card or PRTD, you may not be able to take your flight, train, bus or boat to Canada.

Returning by private vehicle

There are other documents you can use to enter the country.

When you return to Canada, apply for a PR card if you plan to travel outside Canada again.

Some examples of private vehicles include, but are not limited to: a car, truck, motorcycle, or recreational vehicle that you own, borrow, or rent, and that is not available for public use.

Returning by commercial vehicle: airplane, bus, train, or boat

You must apply for a permanent resident travel document (PRTD), valid for one entry. Otherwise you may not be able to travel to Canada.

You can apply to replace your PR card when you return to Canada.


Can I get my permanent resident card processed urgently?

Yes, you will have to prove that you need urgent processing when you submit your application. Find out if you are eligible for urgent processing before you submit your request. If you don’t qualify, we will process your application normally.

If you already submitted your application, you can request that we process it urgently depending on its status.

If you are outside Canada and want to come back, learn how to re-enter Canada without a PR card.


How do I prove that I need urgent processing for my permanent resident card application?

To support a request to have your permanent resident (PR) card application processed urgently, you need:

If you forget to include something or your situation does not qualify for urgent processing, we will process your application normally.


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